In phrases of grains, outdated is new once more, as individuals are more and more gravitating towards so-called historical grains for his or her taste nuances and dietary would possibly. One such merchandise is freekeh. It’s been a pivotal grain within the diets of nations like Syria and Lebanon for hundreds of years, however with extra folks taking discover of Middle Eastern delicacies, freekeh has solely just lately been gaining in recognition stateside.
So, What is Freekeh?
According to Rahaf Al Bochi, R.D.N., L.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and proprietor of Olive Tree Nutrition, freekeh (pronounced free-kah) is a kind of wheat that’s harvested whereas nonetheless inexperienced or “young.”
“The kernels are then roasted, dried, and rubbed, resulting in whole grains referred to as freekeh,” she tells Runner’s World.
Freekeh is a barely chewy grain with a singular taste that wanders between earthy, nutty, and a bit smoky abruptly. That makes it a very good choice if you’re sick of rice or pasta and don’t love the grassy taste of quinoa.
So ought to freekeh kick brown rice and quinoa out of your saucepan and grow to be your new pantry staple? Here’s why this age-old meals might certainly have the higher hand nutritionally over your go-to grains.
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What Are the Nutritional Benefits of Freekeh?
Aside from tasting downright scrumptious, freekeh has a vitamin resume that ought to flip heads. Because freekeh is harvested when the grains are nonetheless immature, it retains a higher dietary bounty.
One serving—1/Four cup—of freekeh comprises the next:
- 141 energy
- 5 g of protein
- 2 g of fats
- 24 g carbs
- Four.5 g of dietary fiber
- 56 mg of magnesium
- zero.7 mg of iron
- 20 mg of calcium
- 200 mg of potassium
- 200 mg of phosphorus
- 1.65 mg of zinc
The crux of freekeh’s dietary prowess is its protein and fiber content material. Serving for serving, it has extra of those than quinoa—a 1/Four-cup serving of quinoa delivers about 2 grams of protein and 1.three grams of fiber.
“Protein and fiber can help slow down digestion, giving you that fullness and satisfaction from a meal,” Al Bochi says. So freekeh could possibly be a very good choice for these seeking to preserve their appetites in test with the last word objective of weight reduction or just wish to work extra
plant-based protein and wholesome fiber into their day by day diets.
That protein is perhaps excellent news in your coronary heart: A examine in JAMA Internal Medicine discovered that changing some animal proteins in your weight loss program, similar to meat and eggs, with plant-based choices might scale back the chance for early loss of life general and loss of life from heart problems. For each three % of an individual’s day by day calorie consumption hailing from plant protein as a substitute of animal protein, there was a drop in an individual’s danger of untimely loss of life by 10 %, the outcomes confirmed.
“Plant-based proteins—such as from freekeh, beans, and lentils—provide plenty of fiber and antioxidants not found in meats that can play a key role in reducing risk for chronic diseases like heart disease,” says Al Bochi.
If chilly climate runs go away you gasping for air, it’s a good suggestion to load up on fiber-rich meals like freekeh. The findings of a examine within the Annals of the American Thoracic Society reveals a hyperlink between greater fiber consumption and a decrease danger for bronchial asthma and different respiratory signs, together with wheezing, coughing, and phlegm buildup. Boosting fiber consumption might reduce the inflammatory responses that result in these points. Al Bochi provides that dietary fiber acts as a prebiotic within the intestine microbiome, offering “fuel” for these wholesome probiotics in our guts.
Like different entire grains, freekeh is a dependable supply of starchy carbohydrates that may show you how to change vitality shops that may get drained on account of frequent coaching. It’s this combo of carbs and protein that makes the traditional grain an amazing addition to a postrun meal to bolster muscle restoration (however not an amazing prerun gas as a result of fiber).
And as a result of freekeh charges reasonably low on the glycemic index chart—a score scale the place meals are ranked primarily based on how a lot they increase your blood sugar—consuming it gained’t ship your blood sugar hovering (which is often adopted by a sudden fatigue-inducing drop).
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Freekeh can also be a viable supply of a handful of important micronutrients together with immune-boosting zinc and phosphorus, a mineral that Al Bochi says has a number of roles within the physique, together with for vitality metabolism and bone and enamel formation.
As a bonus, freekeh provides a dose of lutein and zeaxanthin, the duo of antioxidants that play function in boosting eye well being and are usually present in leafy greens.
And let’s not overlook the general advantages of consuming entire grains on the whole. For occasion, current analysis suggests focusing your grain consumption on entire varieties like freekeh as a substitute of highly-processed refined variations can decrease the chance for 2 sorts of most cancers: bladder and colorectal.
One caveat: Since freekeh is within the wheat household, those that have to observe a gluten-free weight loss program —together with folks with celiac illness—can’t embody the grain of their diets.
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How to Eat Freekeh
Freekeh is straightforward and versatile to include into your weight loss program, and it usually works properly in recipes calling for different entire grains like brown rice, quinoa, and bulgur. Like bulgur, it’s obtainable in each entire and cracked kind, with the latter being quicker to cook dinner.
To put together freekeh, deliver 2 half cups water (you can too use vegetable broth) and a few pinches of salt to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add 1 cup freekeh, scale back warmth to medium-low, and simmer lined till freekeh is tender—15 to 20 minutes for cracked or 25 to 30 minutes for entire. Drain any additional liquid after which put aside lined for five minutes earlier than utilizing it. You also can make use of your rice cooker to make a batch of freekeh on the brown rice setting.
Use cooked freekeh as a stand-alone facet dish or make it the spine of salads, soups, grain bowls, or veggie burgers. It’s additionally an amazing stand-in for rice in burritos. “In the Middle East, it is commonly served as a pilaf with meat pieces,” says Al Bochi.
For a sweet-savory snack, attempt sprinkling freekeh and a few pomegranate seeds over Greek yogurt. You may even attempt utilizing it as a porridge, such as you would steel-cut oats.
While freekeh might not be as prevalent as rice or pasta at supermarkets, you’ll be able to usually discover it at pure meals targeted shops, Middle Eastern grocers, or anyplace you could find Bob’s Red Mill merchandise.
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